Popular proposal

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The popular proposal is an instrument of direct democracy in Switzerland .

Several cantons in Switzerland know besides the known instruments such as the referendum and initiative and the lesser known how individual initiative and people motion also yet another political right to improve parliamentary work by the people, the people's proposal . This is also called a “constructive referendum” or “referendum with counter-proposal”.

Voting slip for the referendum on the popular proposal on May 15, 2011

If enough voters want to improve the proposal, a proposal by parliament can be contrasted with a proposal for amendment. After collecting enough signatures from those entitled to vote, the parliamentary proposal can be compared with a counter-proposal as a whole. This popular proposal will in turn be examined by parliament and then possibly submitted to the people for a vote together with the original law. In order to have a decision if both bills are approved, a key question is asked. The whole procedure is tied to procedures and formalities stipulated in the constitution and law. At the federal level, the introduction of a “referendum with counter-proposal” on September 24, 2000 was rejected by the people with a two-thirds majority.

The following cantons are familiar with these or similar opportunities for participation:

In the canton of Zurich, the constructive referendum was abolished on September 23, 2012 after almost seven years.


By the end of May 2011, it had been used nine times in the canton of Bern, and the popular proposal won six times. The popular proposal was introduced in 1993; he needs 10,000 signatures, which have to be collected within 3 months. The assessment is still mixed, however, as the voters often forget the key question in the voting procedure.

Individual evidence

  1. Popular proposal and key question (election campaign blog, May 16, 2011)
  2. Out for a constructive referendum
  3. - Advantage for the people's proposal in SR DRS